There was a lot of hype and anticipation when it was announced in 2016 that Cody was headed to Ring of Honor. Much to the delight of his fans and dismay of his detractors, he has lived up to every bit of it. The Bullet Club star made it clear right from the start that his goal was to be ROH World Champion, and he realized that goal just six months after his arrival when he defeated Christopher Daniels for the title at Best in the World this past June. A week after winning the championship, Cody nearly defeated Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Title.
It quickly became apparent that the new champion was going to do things his way. Carrying around the ROH World Title belt wasn’t enough for Cody, so he had a gaudy ring (the ring of honor) designed for him, and he delighted in making his foes kiss the ring. For the first few months of his reign, Cody also frustrated ROH officials by refusing to sign an exclusive contract and putting the title on the line in other promotions. Cody eventually signed the most lucrative contract in ROH history in September.
Cody’s successful title defenses included victories over top Japanese stars KUSHIDA, SANADA and Minoru Suzuki. Even though Cody ended 2017 by losing his title to Dalton Castle at Final Battle on December 15, there’s no denying what he achieved both in the ring and at the box office. During Cody’s reign as champion, ROH’s attendance and pay-per-view buy rates were the best in company history.